VERDE VALLEY EDUCATOR OF THE WEEK: Jeff Scroggins
CLARKDALE – Jeff Scroggins the Science Guy may not have the requisite ring to it.
So maybe it’s a good thing that Federal budget cuts in the 1980s played a role in Scroggins not securing employment with the National Park Service or U.S. Forest Service in his chosen field of study.
“I went back to school to get certified to teach science at the secondary level,” recalls Scroggins, middle school science teacher at Clarkdale-Jerome School. “I come from a family of teachers, so it seemed like a good alternative that would keep me close to science.”
More than three decades later, Scroggins has spent a lifetime at the K-8 school deriving “great satisfaction when students finally start to use the ideas of evidence-based problem solving that are the foundations of scientific thinking.”
Says Steve Doerksen, principal at Clarkdale-Jerome School, Scroggins provides instruction that is “meaningful and fun for the students.”
“He is on-target with respect to the science standards, while motivating his students to be life-long learners,” Doerksen says.
“Every year we hear from the high school how the science students coming from Clarkdale-Jerome School are top-notch.
“Mr. Scroggins definitely prepares our students for the high school level.
“We, at Clarkdale-Jerome School, are fortunate to have such a quality person on our staff.”
Scroggins says that if he were not a teacher, he would still like to be a park ranger or guide people in the outdoors.
“I’d also like to use my science training to grow food to help feed my community,” he says.
Soon, Scroggins will know what it is like to not be a teacher, as he is retiring from the district after 31 years. His last day will be May 23.
Scroggins says his teaching style is “a combination of directive, which promotes learning through listening and following directions, and Interactive/Socratic, which promotes critical thinking. I am serious about teaching and expect my students to be serious about learning,” he says. “My classes tend to be both brains-on and hands-on as appropriate and called for by the lesson or topic. I do have a lot of humor in my classes.”
Scroggins is one of the authors of a nationally-recognized paddle sport safety program.
He also received an award for a model forensic science program from the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education, and an award for sustainability education in 2013.
Scroggins was also Yavapai County Teacher of the Year finalist in 2017, as well as Yavapai County Teacher of the Year nominee in 1999.
“Your grade in my class is only a still picture from the movie of you. Your effort and learning is the full-length feature.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Scroggins used to have four llamas that he used as pack animals. His hobbies these days include RV camping with his wife and their two cats, whitewater boating, stand-up paddle boarding and organic gardening.